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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

December 2000

Return to A Walden of one's own


A pond's purpose

Ponds are generally classified into the following types: Wildlife, Fishing, Swimming, Commercial and Stormwater. Each type is suited to different uses. The table below highlights types of ponds most suitable for different natural conditions.
Pond Type Characteristics Aesthetics Boating Fishing Swimming Wildlife
Wildlife Heavily vegetated with buffer strips. Generally shallow (<3 feet) with irregular, gently sloping shore. May be suited May be suited Less suited Less suited Best suited
Fishing Moderately vegetated (30-50%) with steep drop-offs. Generally deeper than 15 feet although with groundwater or surface flow, may be < 5 feet. May be suited May be suited Best suited May be suited May be suited
Swimming Maximum vegetation < 90% with gradual slopes and firm bottom. Typically mowed shoreline or beach in swimming area with major buffer strips on rest of pond to limit runoff and sustain water quality. May be suited May be suited Less suited Best suited Less suited
Commercial Ornamental pond or cooling pond with < 40% vegetation and variable depths and sizes. May be suited Less suited Less suited Less suited Less suited
Stormwater Designed to catch and hold runoff from subdivisions, parking lots, roads and other urban areas, Normally has an outflow. May be suited Less suited Less suited Less suited Less suited


The right ingredients

Consider the following when planning your pond:
Pond Characteristics
Beneficial to Wildlife
Beneficial to Fish
Beneficial to Swimming
Water Source
Cold groundwater (spring water)
x
x
x
Watershed runoff
x
 
 
Coldwater stream
x
x
 
Warmwater stream
x
x
x
Shoreline attributes
Natural buffer
x
 
 
Rock riprap or brick
 
 
x
Manicured lawn
 
 
x
Sand or pea gravel bottom
 
 
x
Soft or mucky bottom
x
x
 
Pond shape
Round
 
 
x
Irregular
x
 
 
Shallow with gentle side slopes
x
 
 
Deep with steep side slopes
 
x
x

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